Georgia wins exhibition game against Georgia Southwestern 65-61

Georgia played an exhibition game at exhibition quality on Thursday night as they snuck by the Hurricanes of Georgia Southwestern, a powerhouse hailing from the mighty ranks of the NCAA’s Division II.

I realize that UGA was without Kenny Gaines, the team’s second-leading scorer from a year ago.  And I realize that Coach Fox intended to play a lot of guys and try some different lineups, which he did.  It was a glorified scrimmage; I get it.

However, Georgia looked awfully competitive with the Hurricanes tonight, especially when they headed to the locker rooms at the break trailing GSW by a score of 26-23.

For nearly 30 minutes Georgia looked out of sorts and stagnant on offense, misusing screens and struggling to feed the ball inside effectively.  UGA shot under 35% from the floor in the first half, and they connected on just 2 of their 15 three-point attempts in this game. Finally – about midway through the second half, J.J. Frazier, who ended up with 9 points, was able to start penetrating the stout Hurricane defense, getting to the line and creating some offense.

Georgia ended up extending its lead into double-digits with several minutes remaining in the game, only to let GSW close the gap to four, giving UGA the 65-61 win.  To be fair, the Dawgs had the bench cleared during this entire stretch.

While it was encouraging to see Kenny Gaines on the bench in street clothes – I guess he is not bedridden – it was quite clear that his absence will be difficult to replace if he cannot go next Friday night in Atlanta against Georgia Tech.  Juwan Parker finished with 10 points on the night, but he shot the ball horribly from the outside, missing badly on all of his three-point attempts.

Yaten Maten recorded a double-double in his first appearance inside Stegeman, scoring 10 points to go along with 12 boards and 4 assists.  He definitely has a nice build and he looks like he could develop into a nice player for Coach Fox, but the key word here is “develop”.  Most of Maten’s points tonight were of the second-chance variety, which will be much more difficult to come by when he starts taking on opponents that are his size or bigger.

Not to beat a horse to death, but this game provided a small example of just how much Georgia could miss Brandon Morris this year, especially his length and ability to drive the ball to the basket off the dribble.  Cameron Forte had a couple of nice takes tonight in the second half, but he doesn’t quite have that same explosiveness that Morris had when he got into the lane.

Whatever medication the UGA staff is administering to Kenny Gaines needs to be doubled ASAP.  Georgia has to have him in the lineup when they start the season because without him they don’t have a lot of viable scoring options.

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13 thoughts on “Georgia wins exhibition game against Georgia Southwestern 65-61

  1. Thanks Hoop. Another good write up of the game. I went with one of my boys. I agree on your thoughts on Maten that most of his points were of the put back variety. I was pleased with how well he controlled his body and how soft his hands were when he touched the ball. On rebounds and passes the ball seemed to stick to his hands. It has been some time since the Dawgs have had a post player with his kind of hands.

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    1. I couldn’t have said it better Keith–good observations. I left at the 10:28 mark of the second half because Fox’s subbing robbed the dawgs of any rhythms that were developing. I know what he was doing but it was not much fun from this spectator’s viewpoint. I also couldn’t agree more about missing Brandon at the 3 position and needing Gaines in there as soon as possible. I was also looking to see if Marcus had developed any touch down low in the offseason. Doesn’t look like it, does it? By the way, if JJ really grew 2 inches, it certainly wasn’t apparent to me.

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      1. J.J. did block a shot, but I agree with you that he still looks pretty tiny out there.

        Thornton, on the other hand, looks enormous. At the SEC media days, Fox expressed how impressed he had been with Marcus’s dedication to the weight room in this off season. If he hasn’t improved on his touch, at least it looks like he’s added some more bulk to deal with some of the larger bigs of the SEC.

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    2. He looks like he’s going to be a player. Someone – maybe from the AJC? – compared him to Jeremy Price, but to me it looks like he has a higher ceiling than that. Like you said, he looks athletic the way he moves.

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  2. I definitely think Maten has a higher ceiling that price. I think he could be an all SEC player. Thornton definitely is built like an NBA big. I was disappointed that it did not appear Mann had worked on his shot in the offseason or didn’t reap any rewards from his work. I sat all the way down on the floor and I thought it looked like Mann may have grown a few inches. Height wise there wasn’t a 3 – 4″ difference between him and Thornton. He is also very well build and really does not shy away from contact.

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  3. Was disappointed I couldn’t make it. Perhaps I was lucky. GSW’s Damien Leonard was a HS All-American I believe – though that’s irrelevant to this discussion. One worry I do have is Fox’s substitution habits. As you mention, it was a scrimmage, but every season, Fox has begun by rolling players in and out every minute or so. And as you also mention, it kills rhythm and fluidity. I just don’t want us to again lose critical early season games in this fashion (whatever the reasoning) only to see the expected starters and rotations appear suddenly in January – and that be the time the Ws miraculously appear too.

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  4. Thanks for the write-up hoop! We have to avoid starting out slow again this year, and this isn’t a good sign that we will be able to do that. But I liike what I am hearing about Maten. Our bigs have had hands of stone I recent years, so a big with soft hands and good touch will be a blessing. I hope Gaines gets better by next Friday.

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  5. Hate to be negative here but I just don’t see how we go into Atlanta and win that game I hope im wrong but what I seen in that exhibition game was what we see every year out of a Mark Fox coached basketball team in November and December which is frustrating after the momentum we carried in from last season.I still feel like Coach Fox is well on the hot seat and yet another loss to georgia tech would not help anything. If we don’t watch out starting 0 and 2 is a big possibility hope Im wrong though.

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  6. Wow just saw where were probably losing Tevin Mack to VCU which is of course a mid major school. For the past month we’ve been on the inside track for the kid until the day before he makes his decision and to make matters worse Jaylen Brown isn’t even taking us series anymore. Is just me or does anyone else see that we need a NEW coach. Coach Fox is a hell of guy decent coach but HORRIBLE recruiter Ive never seen a coach strikeout on so many recruits before it’s frustrating. People can be as optimistic as they want to about him but until he can start nabbing guys that other schools actually have interest in we’re not going to win very much.

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